Comparing Translations of the Tetrapharmakon

  • Jason Baker

    15 hrs

    The Hutchinson translation* of the Tetrapharmakos annoys me. Here are a handful of other English translations of Philodemus' version for contemplation:

    God should not concern us.

    Death is not to be feared.

    What is good is easy to obtain.

    What is bad is easily avoided. -Bob Lane

    Not to be feared is god

    Not to be felt is death

    What is good is easily done

    What is dire is easily borne. -Anon

    God is not fearsome,

    Death not frightening,

    The good easily got,

    The bad easily endured. -Tsouna

    Not to be feared - god,

    not to be viewed with apprehension - death,

    the good - easily acquired,

    the terrible - easily endured. -Gilleland (paraphrased)

    God presents no fears,

    death no worries,

    while good is readily attainable,

    evil is readily endurable. -Long and Sedley

    *Don't fear god,

    Don't worry about death;

    What is good is easy to get,

    What is terrible is easy to endure








    5You, Matt Jackson, Mish Taylor and 2 others


    Hiram Crespo

    Hiram Crespo the fourth one sounds like YodaImage may contain: text

    Like · Reply · 3 · 9 hrs · Edited

    Jason Baker

    Jason Baker The full translation he provided was

    Not to be feared - God,

    not to be viewed with apprehension - death,

    on one hand, the good - easily acquired,

    on the other hand, the terrible - easily endured.

    I felt that was very unwieldy and novel, since <handedness> was not found in the original. I omitted it as unnecessary, and the Yoda-ness appealed. 1f642.png:)
    Like · Reply · 4 hrs · Edited

    Cassius Amicus

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    Mish Taylor

    Mish Taylor I re read the 4th one in 'yoda voice' ! 1f642.png:)
    Like · Reply · 2 · 9 hrs

    Matt Jackson

    Matt Jackson God no.

    Death no.

    Good easy.

    Bad easy.

    The quick and terrible Jackson Translation.
    Like · Reply · 2 · 8 hrs

    Panos Alexiou

    Panos Alexiou I'm also not convinced about the general translation of 'ανύποπτον' as not frightening. It means more 'not perceivable' which also makes more sense.
    Like · Reply · 2 · 8 hrs

    Cassius Amicus

    Cassius Amicus Jason could you add the Hutchinson translation to the original post for comparison?
    Like · Reply · 1 · 7 hrs

    Cassius Amicus

    Cassius Amicus While I use the Tetrapharmakon often and I don't want to dwell on my reservations about it, I personally still find myself choking over the word "easy" or even "readily" in parts 3 and 4. So I like to remember that those words (easily / readily) are nowhere contained in the full length of PD3 and PD4 as attributed to Epicurus himself (and I don't think that Epicurus himself would have used the tone which comes across in English to summarize his meaning, which was probably already as terse as he could make it). But I also don't condemn the writer of the Tetrapharmakon for the seemingly harsh / cavalier result, as we have so little of the context in which the writer would have no doubt have explained fully what he meant.
    Like · Reply · 5 · 7 hrs · Edited

    Ilkka Vuoristo

    Ilkka Vuoristo "You can only understand the four-fold cure if you understand the whole of the philosophy." 1f603.png:D
    Unlike · Reply · 4 · 6 hrs